Monday, December 6, 2010

R.I.P. ARI UP/Silence is a rhythm too...

R.I.P. ARI UP/Silence is a rhythm too...

I was watching a You Tube video of Bikini Kill, when they played London for the first time and remembered the show. After the fact the NME (or Melody Maker) had asked all the doyennes of first wave punk what they thought about this newfangled riot grill business. Poly Styrene said she was at the show, and thought it was boring, a lame rerun of something that had been cool when she was a teenager, but had since played out... I remember reading that, and wondering if she had been at the same show I was at, because as a 14 year old, my experience was completely opposite. I felt engaged, and alive, felt like we could do something, me and my friends, make something out of what we had seen.

A few years after that there was a feature in a women's magazine, the English equivalent of something like Good Housekeeping that documented some of the women of punk, what had happened to them, from Jordan, the cat lady of the Westwood/McClaren Sex shop, to one of the Slits (maybe Viv?? I honestly can’t remember, though I did rip it out surreptitiously whilst at the newsagents, so it should be floating around in my random papers) through to Gina from the Raincoats and Gaye from the Adverts, and I think Palmolive and Poly too, X-Ray Spex/Raincoats/Slits... Gaye Advert said she still listened to “punky music, like Limp Bizkit.” Cripes! That always stayed with me—as soon as you describe a shitty rape-rock band as “punky” you’ve had it, time’s up. Such a grim adjective, and for a band so opposite of the punk ideal. I still need to get the second Adverts LP, it’s so good and despite finding many copies of Crossing the Dead Sea... for not very much money, I have never seen Cast of Thousands in person.

I lived in NYC for a few years in the early ’00s and one of my clearest memories was going to see Ari Up perform at a reggae night somewhere in Brooklyn. She was sort of cartoon like, really vivid and ridiculous in this one way, but it was clear she was self-made, her own person in a really inspiring way that sort of negated the comic stripness of it all... Even though I devoured ’77 punk as a kid, the Slits were harder to get into. I had only heard their later more experimental world beat stuff, at a time when I wanted Sham 69 and at most, Patti Smith. Stuff that’s still somewhat in the rock’n’roll tradition you know? So was not into them. When my teenage band started this girl at one of our shows was totally shocked that I did not seem like care about the Slits, so she made me a tape I still have with the demo and the Peel Session on it. I can still remember the feeling of hearing it for the first time, how wild and unfettered Ari’s voice was, the music was sort of like a drawing, not a rock cliché, but a total deconstruction, which is what punk had promised. This was no Elvis, no Beatles, no Rolling Stones. The demos are wild bedroom recordings, they have a bedlam-ic quality to them that is not artificially manufacture-able if that makes sense. The sound of possibility and adventure and creation thru destruction!! The Peel Session is a little more “trad” punk, but not really, and many think it’s their finest hour. You can get “fanclub” records that have these songs on them, or of course use the power of the internet to find ‘em for your computer listening pleasure. I wish someone would do a legit reissue... I remember staying at Rosie from Month of Birthdays/Pussycat Trash’s house in Newcastle once, and she was really into late era Slits, and me and my friends were just getting into post-punk, but were definitely not at the point where we could listen to anything Slits related that was released post-Cut. Now I really like the fact that they kept going, kept exploring, didn’t remain with one idea of music, but lived through many during their existence. I think it’s easily watchable on YouTube, but there’s this amazing Don Letts footage of the band dancing at a reggae club called the Four Aces, which has itself been immortalized in film by the awesome Winstan Whittar. He made a great film about the history of skateboarding in the UK, so I am really excited to check this one out when it gets to DVD.

We ran Viv Albertine’s memorial to Ari in the news section, which I implore you to read. It’s unreal that she was 14 years old when she started...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bikini Kill in the UK! my old band is on this video... you have to watch it on vimeo

you have to watch it on vimeo. how my accent has changed since livin in amerrrrica. that picture is tobi from BK. from the tullycraft website so I assume the girl who did that zine took the photo? the other one is huggy bear with no niki

Friday, November 5, 2010


This month’s column covers the some of the backlog of tapes I have been handed or mailed over the past uh, entire previous year to now, ie tape fest 2010 shall commence! Even though MRR convention details that only music columnists get bands in capitals in the columns section, I am using my coordinator clout to flout this rule just for clarity and understanding since this is a music column basically... First I will comment on a CDR sent to me by James of UK DIY nexus Germ of Youth, who have put out a most excellent 7” by COMET GAIN and the recent double disc of dreamy DOLLY MIXTURE Demonstration Tapes LP. This is his band, VERONICA FALLS. They elegantly, yet with suitable intent to disgust and disrupt, channel the Medway sound along with the more mod TVPs influenced C86-wave. The girl/boy vocal harmonies, band aesthetic and tuff guitar sound make me think of the early days of COMET GAIN and HUGGY BEAR more in terms of hanging out than sound. Total beatnik beach party, watch out for the LSD in the drinks though. There is venom in the sound; this isn’t a cozy reunion of Sarah records fans at an anorak warehouse. My favorite song is about popular seaside suicide spot Beachy Head, made famous in the movie Quadrophenia. I believe all four of these songs are now 7”s , on the sordid Captured Tracks label outta Brooklyn, seek them out!
NEONATES are from LA, they played Marissa’s backyard last month, and I totally enjoyed their nervous yet powerful stage presence. They trade instruments and sort of seem scared and bored by the audience at the same time in a most compelling way. The music is like MELTDOWN playing CHALK CIRCLE songs, two all girl DC bands from different eras that require your immediate investigation if you do not get that sound reference. NEONATES play deconstructed punk, anti-rhythm yet rhythmic like post punk girls that no wavers then carved up. The girls that wanted to make sounds but weren’t that invested in rock convention. I have a tape and a CDR, I think the tape is available from a UK operation called Clan Destine, but you should write the band for more info, they have a myspace, I like bands that sound like they are putting something together as they play, and yet they’ve created a powerful and total end result...
CERVIX are part of the Spending Loud Night NYHC destruktion crew, Amelia’s vocals are yowled out, total frenzy style over metallic hardcore that’s sorta UK inna SACRILEDGE stylee but this is framed in a CONFUSE GAI hardcore aesthetic and it all feels endtimes like ultimately. Comes with a patch for your denim. PO Box 30 NY NY 10276... EPIDEMIA are from Spain and play some of the most desperate lo fi shitpunk I have heard in an age, (un)holy shit... One two one two drums, shards of guitar and (female) vocals that are borne of terror and rage, the rumble of bass serves only to remind you of your puny ears and it is futile to resist! You must send off for this... Except they didn’t put an address on the tape. I tried searchin on the internerd, but only found a you tube entitled “Spanish Crust Punk”... hmmmmmm. Essentialessentialessential.
MY PARADE are from Seattle and play choppy dance punk that’s more riot grrrl inflected that anything I have heard that’s clearly as influenced by 99 records. In short this isn’t some Gang of Four disco beated out cliché; they have this cool SUBTONIX styled garage freak out and you can tell they heart ESG so totally too (so 99 records reference referenced). They are a self-described all POC dance punk band, and I am super bummed I missed their tour with the also awesome AGATHA from Seattle. Dude, someone needs to do a Seattle scene report... SFO stands for Social Freak Out... They are from Chicago and play politically charged punk, it feels like a battle cry and that’s because it is. Songs about creepy “secret admirers” out on the prowl, about protecting yourself and how male attention can be violating even if it’s not violent. About fighting back against oppression, against the rigors of gender, about liberation and freedom, against borders and yes this tape is a fight song... If you are in the mood for some raging, incendiary all female punk attack, this shit has your name on it. Fucking radical, in all senses of the word. I got the SURROGATE ACTIVITY tape along with a letter that discussed the politics of Mysterious Guy Hardcore, and teenage girls in Floorpunch hoodies... This is FU pop punk with sweet vocals delivering a message that veers pretty far from typical pop punker lyricals, then swoops back in with something about lost friendships and cold coffee. You will probably like this if you are on the hunt for catchy songs that are on the punker side of the pop, sung by a girl with a cool voice and a rad way of putting words together...
THE GIFT are from DC and feature the ever dreamy Beck Levy on vocals, previously known for the seriously amazing TURBOSLUT... They play gnarled up, epic hardcore punk that sort of made me think of a less coiled up BABES IN TOYLAND somehow?? I don’t know, maybe it’s the dynamics of the songs somehow, but this is hardcore... makes me think of being a furious teenage girl, listening to blown out ’90s hardcore 45s and typing letters to my pen pals in various locations. Not sure I have done a good job describing these sounds, but epic experimental hardcore, lady fronted grunge, dynamic, interesting song structure... Epic sounds like it’s gonna be some horrible tech bro core nitemare. It isn’t! Promise.
WEIRD TV are part of the continuing Olympia trail of destruction, playing simple yet direct and doomed hardcore punk with Lizette’s totally deranged and perfect vocals. I hunted high and low for this tape, the first one came direct from Tobi but was destroyed by the USPS! Conspiracy... Urgent times call for urgent measures so another was hand delivered by a NECRO HIPPIE (thanks Candice!!). Honestly this is probably my tape of the year. Perfect Layla-core. Atmospheric, doomed hardcore with the most destruktive female vocals intoned over it, like Therasa BRAT was possessed by ALICE BAG, Lizet=best singer, should sing for every band, would make the worst band amazing... So charismatic! Seriously, she has the personality and power and emotion that Theresa puts into her vocals, but the total death stare fierceness of Alice... DAMN! But the music isn’t straight ahead hardcore, it’s interesting and multi dimensional and raging... Surges into a deconstruction of the olde standard “Gloria” that’s enough to make you wanna give up on life, move to Oly and make your own band/cult... Vocals in Spanish. So fucking good. I want to form a band now, will listen to this tape every day instead. Get this.
I am out of room, but UV RACE tape is also my doomed date tape of the century fuck is this band real????? Not sure how to get one, but you must! I was reminded of the fact that Australians invented punk. These ones took a bunch of LSD at some museum (not a metaphor, a literal reality, a literal literality), and made a mutated CHRIS BAILEY sings for the SWELL MAPS slice of perfection. I believe this is going to be another LP, on Aaaarght! But all of this, the bored yet necessary sometime lady vox, the intoned gentleman that was the one that brought to mind Epic Sound Tracks and Chris Bailey in one of the best musical combinations of invention, wit and genius heard as of recent times. Also from Australia we have WHITE COP who play flailing shitpunk too, but different from the Spanish one. This is blokish and more hi fi, sort of like getting yelled at by a stranger when you’re not sure what’s meant to be happening... “You are a shit” they scream, and they’re right. This is part of the Negative Guestlist empire, an excellent publication that is part of legions of examples of how the Australian punks have recusitated the fanzine format. This is trebled out, feedback enriched punk that feels like an attack, a punch in the face at random, like falling over and getting cut up reallyt bad for the first time in years, the guitars are bleached out, blaring monstrosity like NO TREND were actually trying to hang out in Georgetown. No address but try this
More tape reviews will come! I have a whole box to go. Punk rock is an endless adventure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

MELTDOWN!!!!! super 8.

teenage girls in DC influenced by Scissor Girls and No New York... From 95?? So cool... they have an LP and a 7". I think the 7" turns up pretty easily as it was a split release with dischord.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

spinach blasters


When you watch the end of punk rock history documentaries, the part where the protagonists claim it all died when they lost interest, how does it make you feel? When you talk to former kids, who slept on the floor of your house whilst on tour, who now are touring again with the same band, on a reunion tour playing rock clubs, pro sound pro audio... The idea of punk that resonates most with me is that of exchange, where someone stays on your floor when they’re in your town, and then in the future you stay on someone else’s floor when you’re in some other town. Where the humans in the audience are not “fans” per se, but are people that are part of the punk rock community. People that put on shows, take photos, write zines/blogs/letters, make podcasts or mixtapes, put out records, make music, and so forth. People that make the culture they participate in, that is the basic DIY ethos right? You’re bored in your hometown so you make your cohorts start a band, or you write a fanzine describing the indignations you suffer as a result, or maybe you set up shows for your friend’s bands, or take photos at those shows, or whatever the hell it is you do.
I went to see Cap’n Jazz, a band I was obsessed with as a teenager when their LP came out. They broke up before I got to see them but I played the LP to death, and my ticket purchase was fueled by nostalgia, the memories of traded zines and mixtapes from girls at expensive liberal arts colleges in the Midwest pouring into the boredom plagued teenage existence of growing up in Brentford, England. Fanzines, letters, seven inches and tapes enabled me to imagine a world outside of the non-DIY teenagers I grew up with, and along with most of the Dischord, Gravity and Kill Rock Stars catalog Cap’n Jazz were part of that imagined landscape. Boys with gas station jackets and high water pants who owned the Faith/Void split, girls who read Audre Lorde and made furious bedroom punk bands, these people did not exist in Brentford. I had no idea what to expect from this show, and obviously no one I knew wanted to go so I ate some pizza and ended up walking over one of the hugest hills in SF that seperates the MRR compound from the douchelords that populate North Beach (what was that Big Boys thing—about making you wanna kill some frats??).
It is a genuinely disconcerting experience to go to a reunion show of a band that were around when you (meaning me) first got into punk. The first thing I saw when I pulled up to the club after aforementioned epic hill walk was a huge gaggle of Urban Outfitters teens smokin’ and squawking in the regulation smoking area. Their outfits probably cost more than I earn in a pay period and my heart sunk, that weird eternal high school dork feeling when confronted with those who ooze the confidence of “cool.” No gas station jackets or Audre Lorde here… The realization struck that this was probably gonna be a long and weird night. The music was great, but I felt like I was watching a play rather than a show, a performance and that I didn’t feel part of anything. Everyone around me seemed all swept up in something that I felt so separate from to the point of repulsion. True feelings of horror! These people went to rock shows and wore merch and chugged $8 beers and so forth and so forth, if twenty people in the room had been to a basement show in the past year I woulda been shocked. I felt shitty for feeling so separate from the good times of these humans, but what we do is secret, and merchandise kind of gets in by design and so forth and until it makes you more a kid if you wanna off a pig. Afterwards I talked to the person in the band I knew from my youth, and honestly felt so gross and fan like that I had to leave—it made olden times seem all grim and for sale... I was really looking forward to the show, and musically it was what I wanted, a replication of something that meant the world to me, but it also reinforced the fact that it was not what I wanted.
The other thing that reinforced this sorta obvious fact (and yes I am sure Tim Yo is turning in his grave, clutching Ben Weasel to his chest as he recoils in horror that a current coordinator went to a Cap’n Jazz reunion) was a show in Marissa’s back yard last week, in a rare spot of SF sunshine... Featuring Los Angeles’ own Neonates, Nuclear Family from Albany NY, Daylight Robbery from Chicago and Brilliant Colors and Airfix Kits from San Francisco and Oakland respectively. Neonates play furtive ingenious girl punk, demonstrating their encyclopediatric knowledge of the history of ladypunkers, they reminded me at once of Washington DC’s Meltdown (most excellent No Wave inspired Scissor Girl worship from 1995—get the LP if you see it you will not regret it...) and the Slits demos and um, the Ama-Dots from early ’80s Michigan, all hail furtive exploratory girl sounds!! They were exciting to watch, used their instruments like toys rather than tools—weaponry listens to love… Then Brilliant Colors played a dreamy as usual set with Jess at once channeling Brian Jones and the girls from the Shop Assistants. Again, all hail exploratory girl encyclopediax! Let’s make a new sound that will banish these memories of historical endeavors in basements and youth halls, that are now being sold back to us, reinvent a movement!! Thrift stores and record shops and I don’t know what you’re talking about.... Nuclear Family played next, and while I loved their first tape for it’s raw destruction everything else has seemed so polished and wrong when you think of the people in this band and what they can do to a sound... This show (and their incredible LP coming out on Loud Punk this month...) negated all past ideas. Nuke Fam feature Zach and Paul from Acid Reflux, and Jen and Kevin, all true Albany up all night punkers, ready to half plate a buffet or play golf on the weird science fiction state capital at 2am. Zach’s guitar attack and Paul’s drums of doom, with Jen’s swooping all encompassing vocals... So good!!! Really though, the LP and live show cement the fact that it is a bummer that this band will probably be no more after this fall, so go see them when they play your town punkers! Daylight Robbery have put out the LP I listen to the most right now, it makes me think of similar things that the Observers LP did, in that I think it’s that important and good a record. The way that Christine and David’s vocals collide over the desperate Wipers guitars that also bring to mind John Doe and other things... the lyrics are great, and I love this band so totally. Jeff Rice on drums! Airfix Kits played last, had the driest stage banter, and both Allans in the band fell through the rotting on which they were performing. Tetchy, tense punk that’s bloodstains over Scotland, the problem of leisure and our band could be your life. Seriously! Punk rock is the eternal adventure, the endless possibility, this thing we make with our hands and our friends help. I am going to make myself a Cap’n Jazz t shirt, because I still love that band, but I did not want to get into the American Apparel situations. And in regards to the liner notes on the recently reissued Analphabetthology? I still get thriftstore pants for $3, even if you do not Tim Kinsella. Blah blah blah. This column was supposed to be reviews of all the demos I have been sent this year that have yet to make it to the review section. Next month? Punkie swear.
Layla at /

Monday, October 11, 2010

I did the radio show....

You Can Listen

Intro song:

Frequent Mutilation
CRAZY SPIRIT – Burning Children
WEIRD TV – Canalla
KEBAB – Anti-L
CHANNELS 3+4 – Pills

“Belief in Repetition as Deliverance…”
FRUMPIES – Wrong Way Round
BLOOD SAUSAGE – Haunted House
CUPID CAR CLUB – Edge of the Envelope
HUGGY BEAR – Our Voltage
CIRCUS LUPUS – Tightrope Walker

TVP is an acronym for a band and for a fake meat product
COMET GAIN – Beautiful Despair
BLACK TIME – Corpse Life
KIOSK – Royal Jerks

I’m a Nice Guy Now
UV RACE – Girl in My Head
TIMMY’S ORGANISM – I’m a Nice Guy Now

Outro songs:
FURY – Space Love

Monday, September 27, 2010

on the record player on repeat

weird TV
is my current obsession

I love this song by Veronica Falls from London/Brighton...

also UV race has a new tape which is gonna be an LP on arrrght i think

The Libyans new LP on Sorry State is amazing. You can listen to a song here, but the whole record is so good! On constant rotation. I tried to find a youtube but could only find some other weird HC band with the same name. who do soundtracks for video games. WEEEEIRD

las señoras are from Spain, and made my favorite 7" of the year so far, like Adolescents radness but with all girls! and some sorta weird fucked up art damage! yes!

Kebab are a post Crass post-punk influenced band who just got reissued, from the early 80s, really cool...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I wrote this for Bikini Kill's archival site, re: i was a teenage tearaway skinned teen

Before I saw Bikini Kill I mostly discovered music via the Melody Maker, a weekly music paper that no longer exists, and via the pages of Sassy magazine, which also no longer exists, that my American grandparents had gotten me a subscription to. I listened to bands like the Breeders, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the Jesus and Mary Chain, went to as many shows as my mum would let me (I was 12-13 years old at this point) I felt like punk had happened, passed me by, and that although I loved the bands I was into, it wasn’t the same as “the olden days”. I always felt like I was missing out somehow. At any rate I read about BK and riot grrrl in Sassy, and immediately wanted to get involved but couldn’t figure out how as it all seemed to be happening in the USA, and I was stuck in London. I sent off for Girls Germs zine, which led to Jigsaw, and the BK zines, and Germ of Youth too-all of which I combed through for info and bands to investigate and other girls to write. THEN there was a piece on Huggy Bear in the Melody Maker, and suddenly, finally there was something happening in my town! London! Me and my friends started to go and see them play whenever we could, and they also made zines and tapes that they would give out/sell at gigs, which got us into other music and ideas , things to read, movies to watch, records to check out… Plus we all became pen pals with them (Huggy Bear) and they would make us tapes and send us letters, and send us letters written by other girls in different parts of the country to write to. We all made our own zines, and started trading them with people. It was rad!
Finally, the inevitable most dreamy thing happened-Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill toured the UK! We all bought tickets and went to every show that we could, and I think my friend Flossy told Kathleen that we were in a band (we weren’t. we had just talked about the fact we needed to do one-I had a guitar but none of us had really played music before…) Kathleen said Blood Sausage and BK were playing a show next week, and would we play?
We freaked out. We did not have a band or any songs, plus I think we were all 13/14, and couldn’t always persuade our parents to let us go out to gigs on school nights. But it was clear that we needed to do something. I don’t remember why we didn’t play that show-but we formed a band and made a tape that week. We had to come up with a band name, and had a bunch of contenders, which a girl who worked at the skate shop we hung out at (Slam City Skates!) looked at and said we should pick Skinned Teen, so we did. We gave Huggy Bear and Kathleen our tape, I think at that show, but we actually played our first show at an all girl gig, which Tammy and Jen from Linus set up, that Jo and Niki’s from Huggy Bear’s other band played, the Furbelows-they were awesome but I think they only ever recorded one song on a Huggy Nation tape?? Anyway Skinned Teen didn’t ever play with Bikini Kill but they were the reason we realized that at age 13/14 we could be a band. I didn’t ever get that feeling from listening to say, Nirvana. Bikini Kill made that world seem like something that was ours, a sound we could make rather than just consume if that makes sense. Listening to them and seeing them play was life transforming and opened up a world of possibilities, introduced me to DIY punk and making your own culture for your friends, and communicating that with other kids/punks in different places that felt the same way you did, on your own terms.
There’s a movie Lucy Thane made called Bikini Kill Changed My Life, about the BK/HB tour that you should try and watch-someone “borrowed” my copy, but on it you can see a lot of what I talked about. I feel like I haven’t talked enough about the politics of Bikini Kill maybe, the power of hearing their words of resistance and power after spending so long getting physically and verbally harassed at shows, in the pit, on the way to the show, and internalizing that. “Oh well, that’s what you get for being a girl…” and also being made to feel like my love for music wasn’t authentic or as real as some guy’s… PLus all the boring and endless explanations you had to give to clueless jerks who wanted in on riot grrrl, even though they had the rest of the “rock” world… The aggressive shitty creeps who would show up just to fuck with girls, the threatened journalists, both male and female (one women journalist made a fake zine, which was an embarrassing attempt at ridiculing riot grrrl, but her idea of feminism seemed to be from some wooden headed hippy’s description of what the women’s liberation movement was…) I just wanted to get across the idea that what Bikini Kill did for me and my friends was show us how to make our own band, our own culture, and how life changing that was. You don’t have to be Slash to pick up a guitar, you don’t have to be Thurston Moore-having an idea is sometimes more important and interesting than ability…I think Bikini Kill were my generation’s Minor Threat.

I also think girls should continue with BK and riot grrrl’s work-keep making noise, and bands, and zines, write each other, make your own girl culture…

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

early practitioners

When my Dolly Mixture double LP arrived in the mail, my first instinct was to play the godamn thing, much to the displeasure of my co-coordinators, who were polite, but it was soon apparent that this was music to be endured with a grimace rather than an indifferent shrug... This is the reissue of the much sought after Demonstration Tapes, an almost perfect vinyl reproduction of the bands only long player, originally released in 1983. I have had Dolly Mixture songs on mix tapes over the years, but when this was reissued in the ’90s on CD, it was super hard to find, plus I did not own a CD player, so this is the first time I have had all these songs in one place by this genre defining all girl indie pop group. Did they in fact invent twee? Dolly Mixture started in 1978, who knows if they were the first to twee, not me, that’s for sure... They were definitely early practitioners, and the first platter of the aforementioned double LP features the dreamiest early stuff, including a somewhat barbed ode to Jane, of Modettes fame, and her prowess with gentlemen, entitled, “How Come You’re Such a Hit With the Boys, Jane?” Along with my favorite, an ode to being the other woman, “Side Street Walker.” Their sense of melody is so incredible, and perfect, and the fact that teenage girls constructed these songs is so inspiring and cool... It’s funny, whatever I have read about the band refers to the fact that they didn’t make it, as if they were the British Go Gos that shoulda coulda woulda, but I think they are from a completely different planet from that band. This sound would not work in an arena! And as if “making it” has that much to do with history’s judgment of how good a band is…
The ’90s CD reissue of this record goes for over a hundred bucks. (’90s CD! $100!!!??!). Which is basically why I am writing this. The aforementioned reissue I was making Mariam miserable by listening to is already sold out. Dolly Mixture may not have been the English Go Gos, but more than 300 people wanted this record obviously. I think it sold out in two days! It’s a certified classic, made by three teenage girls because of, and in spite of the DIY explosion caused by punk. I am not the hugest indie pop nut; I prefer stuff to have at least some infusion of punk, some sorta early Television Personalities or Desperate Bicycles intonation... My teenage band used to play with Comet Gain a lot in the early ’90s, but I did not start liking them until they moved on from the cleanliness of the Style Council twee soul sound and incorporated more of the aforementioned punk sneer, starting with the majestic Tigertown Pictures LP. In fact their last three LPs and the Beautiful Despair 12” are close to punk-soul-perfection... I just write this random disclaimer to indicate that I am not usually swayed by the twee. I am in fact writing this whilst wearing Bruce Roehrs’ Raw Power t-shirt that he bought at a Rock Against Reagan show in ’84. There are no hair clips in my bangs, I am not sporting an anorak, nor do I own any records on the Sarah record label. I like pop music, but I like it when it’s made by a band that fucks with the constraints of twee, more Shop Assistants than Tallulah Gosh. I think that’s pretty much the rule to most music I like. I am not interested in perfection, I like mistakes, music that sounds like it couldn’t be any other way, like it had to be made. Rather than perfect constructions of musical genres. The last song by Void on the Faith/Void split is my favorite song of all time. This of course is a perfect construction. EXPLODE!!!!
Speaking of Roehrs, we are running an Agnostic Front interview this issue that was his last before he died. Before he did it, he asked our permission, in light of MRR and that band’s antagonistic history. Bruce and Tim Yo were close, and he knew that Tim would have had something to say about this interview being in the magazine. Initially we were going to send someone alongside Bruce to make sure that the questions weren’t too deferential or unchallenging, since he was not only good friends with the band members, but they were his favorite hardcore band... (Going by the band’s first two records it’s easy to see how he reached this conclusion). I think the interview demonstrates that the fears we may have had were not realized. It may not provide a voice for Tim’s ambivalent feelings towards the band, but Bruce did not shy away from controversy, or ask only easy questions. Bruce was a complex, charming and often difficult man, and the fact that he is gone is still hard to comprehend, in terms of his history with the magazine, but also in terms of my friendship with the man. I think about him often, and his absence is a void, his voice still rings in my head, his particular and peculiar turns of phrases appear out of the blue, along with the memory of the way he bear hugged everyone.
We are currently raising money to make sure he gets a permanent memorial worthy of a man of his stature and character. One of the places that he took out of town guests, (and in town guests, present company included!) was the San Francisco Columbarium. A copper domed grand Victorian building that was built to house the ashes of some of this city’s founding families, especially popular after cemeteries were banned from SF city limits. It is now a non denominational resting place; apparently San Francisco’s “Pope of Punk” Dirk Dirksen is there... Our goal is to raise $12,000 to secure Bruce a spot. We have gotten about half way there, and have a memorial nook secured. We need help to make the rest of the money, and anything you can spare would be a huge help. I know that there are some memorial benefit shows planned, and if you would be into doing something like that I know Bruce would have appreciated it. He was most at home at the front of a show, fists in the air… If you want to make a donation via paypal this is the email:, or you can send checks payable to Maximum Rocknroll—please make sure you put Bruce Memorial in the memo line of the check or MO.
layla at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tell your children

I went to a bookstore today, and the clerk was holding a copy of a comic, reviewed in this issue of MRR, called something along the lines of Henry and Glen. He asked me if I liked the Misfits/Danzig, then told me Glenn Danzig had just walked past me as I was entering the bookstore. He had gone and grabbed the zine to prevent Mr. Danzig from having to see it and thus be upset if the warning Rollins wrote on the back of said book holds any weight… Anyway, I totally did not see Danzig, or notice anyone that looked remotely Danzig-like anywhere nearby even though he allegedly brushed past me after putting all the book store clerks on the guestlist for his show tonight. I am very disappointed and am, as I write this simultaneously watching the video of “Mother” on YouTube. This isn’t because I am not presently at a Danzig concert in 2010, I think that would be a spectacle and a disappointment, plus I don’t think I would have gone to see Danzig at any point unless it was free. Just disappointed that I did not get to gawk at him. DISAPPOINTED! All caps style. I like Danzig’s voice, but my favorite vocal stylings are those of Bobby Soxx, especially when he says “Even the laydeeeeeiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” (Apparently he doesn’t say it like that—I say it
like that. I do, frequently). LEARN TO HATE! IN THE EIGHTIEEEEEEEEEES.

Speaking of Texas punk, I also am consumed by the Foams record, which seems to have been pilfered from the MRR kollection since I got here… Or at least “misfiled” An all girl band from Austin that served mainly to prove how music was as apt an art as any to take apart… While putting together the article on the Curse in this issue I also discovered the split record they did with the Diodes had also disappeared. I think Graham wrote this month about how crazy San Francisco Amoeba has been recently,
and about Martin’s big score. I picked up Government Issue’s Legless Bull for a dollar,
which is probably the best record score ever for that price for me. I have been attempting to put together a want list so I feel less bewildered when I go to the aforementioned former bowling alley now record store. Most of the platters I am on the hunt for tend to be shit like the Foams, and other weird punk girl bands, Teddy and the Frat Girls, y’know. I have been picking up anything that looks like it might be along those lines in those mystic 7” bins, but nothing I have grabbed has been as cool as the Ama Dots 7” which was acquired by my friend Scott about ten years ago, same location, 50c. I think my favorite punk 45s are desperate sorta repulsive hardcore
items such as Neos or Mecht Mensch or Die Kreuzen or United Mutation, or their fucked up girl counterpart art punkers...
layla at

Friday, September 10, 2010

random hippie dirge

This is a collection of random things that sprung into my brains. This is not an epic Greek poem, or a Victorian novel, this is not New Journalism, this is not bathroom graffiti. Random brains. Brain springs. We tried to watch the bio-pic cheezecore movie about Dogtown—not the Stacey Peralta documentary, but the movie with actors aping it. It was the sort of movie that whilst watching you wondered how no one involved realized how stupid and corny it was. As a punk I love teensploitation movies, from River’s Edge to Foxes, Out of the Blue to Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains, but I was not able to transmit this love into the transformation of belief required to finish watching the absolute soiled turkey that was Lords of Dogtown. Someone ollies out of their second story bedroom in one of the first scenes, an act of very believable activity for this era of skateboarding especially on a banana board. I didn’t go see the Germs movie or American Hardcore; I probably shoulda seen the latter just for big screen dynamic eye catching ferocious footage of best bands ever. I just got so annoyed by the book I figured the movie would feature that idiot that wrote it in such a way that I might need to rip my eyeballs out after viewing. Maybe movies about culture that you feel a part of that are made for mainstream appeal should just be avoided unless it’s the midnite movie and you got a crew of rowdies? “That guy would not have been wearing a Misfits shirt! Jeez... what year is this supposed to be etc etc etc” At any rate, what do you guys this about the Tater Totz 7” that Cherie Currie sings on? That also has that insane Pat Smear led overblown cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”?
When I first starting doing shitwork at MRR there was some random hippie dirge carved into the sidewalk in front of the house. Something about the spiral tribe? The viral tribe? I have forgotten what it said exactly but it included a shitty mosaic that an angry punk smashed at some point. The city redid the sidewalk, not before a scam punk carved something marking his or her presence... And someone across the street has carved in a selection of sidewalk penises. Or penii? Sidewalk messages. I am currently sitting in my room listening to the Sublime Frequency reissue of Dara Puspita, an insanely good Indonesian all girl garage band from the ‘60s. On headphones... Looking through the booklet that came with the CD and reading about how these musicians suffered for their art via brutal government oppression, weekly grillings, where they were forced to play their hits to assorted officials who would deem whether a song was too wild for the youth of Indonesia... and yet their music is at once liberated sounding, fun and refreshing. The music is sorta Girls in the Garage stylee, except these girls actually played their instruments, they were not just dollybird frontgirls with faceless session musicians or puppets performing some small town producer’s idea of rocknroll. Some of the music borrows hooks from contemporary western rocknroll songs, but they totally transform it into their own sound somehow... Cool.

I have been, as always, been thinking about girl sounds. MRR puts on a show one a month (third Thursday at Balazo!) and this month I think nearly every band had a female musician—one, Mothercountry Motherfuckers, wore masks so I was unable to discern gender. Genderpolice. In the style of previous Mike Kirsch bands witnessed by these eyes, they had a full multi media projection thing behind them and a sorta NOU-ish manifesto band thing going. I like it a lot more than Baader Brains and am excited to get a hold of a tape or other recorded artifact when it surfaces. Former member of John Henry West! No Statik are a reasonably new Bay Area band, I mighta written about them before? Not sure, at any rate I believe a record is to appear on Prank soon enough, but you can and should send off for the demo before that. So good. Most raging female local fronted hardcore since Look Back and Laugh? Possibly, could be due to the ex member of... The ex member of list for this band is sorta epic, but let’s just say they play tight and raging hardcore at volumes and with vigor that make paying attention to anything else futile. Then there was the incredible Necro Hippies show at Thrillhouse, which also featured Diane’s new band Livid, (Diane, soon to be former distro coordinator of this thing you currently hold... More on that in a bit), Livid were the best kind of basement punk, with the most compelling frontwoman, total Alice Bag delivery… The rest of the band had their own rhythm and idea of punk, so it made for a most killer combination with the snarled and stuttered vocals. Really had a most enchanting Dangerhouse situation and the idea that they have just recorded a tape makes this girl extremely happy for the state of Bay Area music. And yep, you read right, Diane is leaving the distribution coordinator position at MRR; Fred Schrunk of Thrillhouse Records will be taking over, starting in July, so if you wanna start selling MRR at shows or at your skate shop you should email Fred rules and is a long time architect of San Francisco punk, setting up the collectively run all volunteer record store and sometime show space Thrillhouse, and also tirelessly searching for a new and legit all ages space for San Francisco. We are super excited to have him as part of the coordinator power trifecta. Back to the show—Necro Hippies ruled, playing trashed out basement hardcore, timeless and true. They have a record on Raw Sugar records out of New Orleans, where they are from, and Candice, the guitarist is involved in a cool all girls show collective No More Fiction… Hardcore for the hardcore.
Anyway-listen to the song “Chronic Thoughts” by Malefice, and I promise next month this column will be less a collection of brain sewage and more a cohesive dissertation of reality.
layla at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Badge monsters

YES! MRR has new buttons! Buy them peops for your denim vests, fake fur shrugs etc etc
Designed by Avi Spivek and Guillem from Destino Final!!


Teenage Tantrums

I have been playing music since I was thirteen. I am now 32. I think I have played in eight bands total. I moved to San Francisco in 2005 and since then have played in one band, with my former roommates Jess Scott (of Brilliant Colors fame) and Tommy Strange (of Zero Defex fame). We have a tape, it was made in an afternoon, which is also how long the band lasted. It is now 2010. And I have been in one band, for one afternoon in the past five years. My first band, Skinned Teen, formed after we went to see Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill in London, where I grew up. One of the girls I was hanging out with told Kathleen Hanna we were in a band, and she offered us a show the week after that. We were not in a band, just wanted to be after witnessing the life affirming and life changing spectacle of Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear… We were thirteen and fourteen, and had just discovered underground punk rock, after a year or so of going to see bands like Mudhoney and Nirvana, Jesus and Mary Chain and PJ Harvey. Whatever the NME and Melody Maker were championing that week was what we were into, obviously not completely, for instance the Grebo scene seemed dire to my ears at least... Witnessing the HB/BK tour made us feel like it was in our hands, our boredom and alienation could be transformed by none other than our own sense of what was possible. Huggy Bear used to make a fanzine for every show they played, sometimes a huge elaborate 100 page opus, sometimes a one sheet thing folded in half, that they called Bullet-Teens. The fact that they were all super ancient (probably in their twenties…) yet constantly referred to teen culture and youth as being the true punk troops made us want to realize that vision. And we did.

We didn’t play our first show with Bikini Kill, we played a month or so later at an all girl band show, which also featured the awesome Furbelows, which was Jo and Niki from Huggy Bear’s all girl garage band. We made a tape in my bedroom and gave ‘em out to whoever asked, and ended up putting out four records by the time we broke up, when we were all seventeen. After that I played in a bunch of bands that only made tapes, bands that only existed in name and concept, and bands that were more about hanging out and skateboarding than actually making music. From the Fucking French Boyfriends to Elle Touer, SS Lucifer to the Frigidairres, the first “real” band I did was when I was 19, called Petty Crime. By “real” I mean a band that played shows and existed as part of a punk community rather than as a hang out opportunity between the six or seven girls I skated with. I actually have a list somewhere of every band name we came up with, something like fifty conceptual bands, some of which made tapes, which I think I still have, some of which were just conversations.
When I was in Skinned Teen there were a group of dudes at our drummer Esme’s secondary school who were in a Pearl Jam cover band. It used to drive them absolutely fucking insane that we played shows with Sonic Youth offshoots and they were playing in the beer garden at local pubs. They couldn’t understand why we, who “couldn’t play” were somehow given all these opportunities to “make it,” while they languished with their guitar skills and “Jeremy” covers in cruddy old Brentford pubs. We refused to give interviews to the music papers, we didn’t want to “make it” we wanted to make music, have a good time and connect with other grrrls. We wanted to find the weirdos who didn’t want to be part of the music industry, who wanted to make their own thing on their own terms. To make a subculture rather than pursue sponsorship opportunities. When we get sent demo tapes at MRR, I like the ones that sound like they were made by people who can’t help but exist in that same idea of music. Music that sounds like it wasn’t an attempt to make a perfect carbon copy of a specific era of hardcore or punk history. I like it when a band sounds like they were trying to make a certain sound, but couldn’t, so they ended up with some weirdo shit out of necessity rather than conceit.
I started writing about this because for the first time in about five years I picked up my guitar and started playing again last week. I am not sure why I stopped, but I am going to try make myself play regularly. My friend Tobi says that she sets aside a couple hours a week just to play guitar, otherwise it doesn’t happen. I am going to try do this. I am also going to try and write every day. This pile of drivel that I emit each month is the only thing I write anymore. I used to put out my own zines, which I haven’t for a few years. Mostly I don’t think I have the time to do it, running MRR is super life consuming… I haven’t even made anyone a mix tape for an epic amount of time, which I used to do on a monthly basis. I wrote this just to remind myself to continue to produce punk culture outside of these inky pages you hold in your hands. And if you are reading this, and I owe you a mix tape—it’s on the way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This city, San Francisco is the first time I have lived somewhere within walking distance of the ocean since the ’90s. when I lived in Brighton, England for three years of college. I have now lived here for five years, with two years spent in Oakland before that. Prior to Oakland I lived in London for a year, before which I was in New York City for close to two years, I moved there from Orange County, California where I lived for a little over two years. I moved to the OC to care for my grandmother, just after I graduated from college in England, where I am from. I moved to Brighton as a teenager from London, the city in which I was born and raised. A somewhat incongruous, sloppy and inadequately put together paragraph to indicate that I started volunteering at MRR shortly after moving to the Bay Area, which is the place I have lived the longest since abandoning my home town, London. Every so often people will ask why I don’t move to NYC or LA, or back to London. As if I am here while I figure out what my “real life” is going to entail in a big city… When I lived in all those other places, I used to think, when things got bad—well, you can always leave.
At first MRR was just something I did every so often, hopped on a BART train and did the radio show a couple times a month. Then I got sucked in, through new and different responsibilities, eventually leading me to coordinator-ship. I think the longest anyone has been a coordinator of this magazine, barring Tim, is Arwen’s six year run. Most other coordinators seem to last around three before burn out strikes. I started in ’08, so I guess if I succumb to the same disease that affected all the others, I’ll burn out in 2011. A year before the apparent end of the world. Hopefully by that point I will have achieved my goal of owning the Foams 45, publishing a fanzine that is not MRR, making mix tapes for all those I’ve promised them to, and finding more new bands that affect me as much as Sex Vid did. Dare to dream…
I have been thinking about all of this stuff partially because of training a new coordinator, and partially because of Bruce’s death. Endings and beginnings. Someone said that Lance Hahn, Tim Yo and Bruce were the trinity of Maximum, that it really was the end of a real and specific era. When I first got my column in the magazine a few long time shitworkers wrote me postcards and emails, commenting on things I was obsessing over. Lance wrote me about going to see Unit Three Plus Venus, an early ’80s band featuring a mildly exploitative stage mom’s attempt at finding fame through her twelve year old daughter. Lance saw them play in Hawaii, when he was growing up, and wrote about going to see anything, any show, any punk event, which I totally could relate to. I always felt like punk was happening far from my eyes, in a different town, a different country. Bruce Roehrs always made jokes about how he didn’t read the magazine, and yet if I mentioned that I was looking for a record in my column, it would come up in conversation somehow.
When he finally got his records out of storage, he pulled out a Desperate Bicycles 45 for me, remembering that I had talked about never seeing their records in record stores in London as a kid. He was thoughtful like that. Kind. Open minded. The kind of man who claimed he couldn’t stand bands with female vocalists, yet frequently wore a Red Aunts shirt. Not one of my favorite bands, or even a band I can understand liking, but an all girl band nonetheless. He claimed he hadn’t eaten a vegetable since 1969, yet went out to dinner to Thai and Indian places twice a week with his best friend Dirk, and Dirk’s two year old daughter. It’s strange writing this, knowing that this month is the last month that this magazine will feature his music writing. I will never have to call him, a week past his supposed deadline, waiting expectantly for the reams of yellow lined legal paper that made up his column, his music reviews. He was supposed to review the new Antiseen CD, the THUG 12” and a Thieves 7” this month. Who else can review Antiseen? The idea that anyone else at this magazine is qualified would have made Bruce roll his eyes, and roll up his sleeves and get to work. He loved both the THUG and the Super Yob records, played them constantly the way he did all the records that came in that consumed him. At top volume, always wanting others to share the pleasure he got from punk, from hardcore, from oi! He loved talking to everyone here about music, from Steve Spinali, to Marissa Magic. He was able to find the common ground, the shared love of sound, that particular feeling that you get when something hits you just right. He never stayed still, was never static, stuck in the sounds of his youth. He always wanted to hear the new bands, the local bands, the support bands. I often witnessed him leaving shows early, just watching the support bands, for whom no one else could spare the time.
Interviewing Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon with him was one of the coolest and most enriching experiences of my time here, all of us crammed in the MRR courtyard, asking these legends about how they got to where they were, what decisions they made, how they made those sounds. Bruce sitting there, beside himself with happiness to be in the company of others who loved music as much as he did, who had also stayed true to their idea of what rock’n’roll is, and what it could be. It isn’t an oldies station, playing the same five songs on repeat. It’s in the blood of people like Bruce, like Fred and Toody who are always looking for what’s happening now, at the same time as staying true to what they believe. Connecting the past to the present without writing off either, experience and excitement, being a fan. Music is lived experience, and Bruce was the living embodiment of someone who lived for music, who loved music and was able to communicate his enthusiasm and passion to an audience in such a unique way. Who else could review the new Antiseen CD? No one could give it the review Bruce would have, and that makes me sad, makes me realize what we have lost. A brother, a friend, a true rock’n’roller, a man who lived on his own terms until the end. It’s been hard writing this, trying to encapsulate all the complexities that made up the man, what stories to tell, and what are best forgotton. I have a feeling that the stories are going to keep pouring out, from all over the world, from all the people that were affected by Bruce and his pure love of rock’n’roll as well as his kindness and friendship.
layla at /
Thee olde toppe tenne! Cut in half, bargain bin stylee.

1-The mysterious NZ comp 12” that Graham Booth tantalized my ears and brains with, it came out sometime in 1980/1981, featured mostly girl punk bands, had weird blue, kind of psychedelic cover that sort of resembled a ‘70s curtain more than a black light painting if ya know what I’m saying. At any rate I didn’t bother to write anything down—band names, who needs em. I had an idea of the comp title and record label, and assumed I could use the power of the computer search tools available in modern life to
find out more. How wrong I was! There is nothin’ anywhere about this artifact, the search led me to the absolutely insane and amazingcore Y2K Axemen blog. The maniac New Zealand band have provided a most excellent resource and time suck rabbit hole of doom,, into which I suggest you throw yourself if you are interested in downloading tapes of pre-Shoes This High bands, looking at eye damaging art and finding out which over the counter medicines have psychedelic properties. In short if you need to know about New Zealand punk weirdos and the things they conceived of during the ‘80s through ‘til now, that place is a good starting point. I am being purposely vague here, but if anyone knows what I am talking about in regards to this
record and can tape it for me, we would be friends for life. No lie.
2-”Peer Pressure was a Santa Cruz band (1980-1981) involving Kathy McVey, Rosemary Gilman and Patricia Gleseke. Kathy and Rosemary had sat in on some Waybacks shows and then decided to start their own band. They were “driving along and there was this girl standing there at the stoplight with drumsticks in her pocket, and we go ‘Hey, you wanna be in a band?’“ The girl was Patricia. John Peel played their song “I’m
Adult” so often on his radio show that they received fan mail from England.” It sounds like a less rock Bush Tetras, it’s much more shambolic (and thus punker), but with that similar band idea. At any rate of course I couldn’t find much more info about them, beyond an aging Santa Cruz punk Facebook page. I like the idea of the band forming out of some version of the punk nod, one adapted for punk girls…
3-I was going to go see Chain and the Gang, Ian Svenonius’ new band, which I have yet to hear, but alas the excursion was not possible. I have been listening to a lot of tapes recently, as I have a Walkman rather than an iPod, (due to bank balance deficiencies rather than luddite tendencies) and I’ve been listening to these Nation of
Ulysses tapes I got in the dollar bin at Amoeba. I was obsessed with NOU as a kid, and only didn’t go see them play because I was grounded when they played London. The Cupid Car Club 7” is pretty perfect too, but not so much his later stuff. Walking to work listening to NOU makes me want to form a band, a secret society. I have been attempting to get rid of some of the ephemera I carry around with me, the epic piles of fanzines and fliers and magazines that clutter my room and become the bane of my life when I have to move… The gas station jacket, probably last worn in ’95, complete with mottled Heroin patch? Do I need this artifact? Sassiest Boy in America? Nostalgia will sink us all.
4-The Plugz–“Mindless Contentment.” The punk song that gets stuck in my head the most is GG Allin’s “1980s RocknRoll.” This is not the best thing that has ever happened to me. I also get these classic numbers rattling around my thoughts on a way too frequent basis: “You’re so Stark / Raving normal” and also, “No hope for you / No hope for anyone / No hope for the wretched.” If you don’t know the words to these things and they do not reverberate around your skull like an endless woeful infomercial, consider
yourself blessed. This month however I have had the Plugz in my brains, which is quite pleasant.
Mindless Contentment!
5-Nu Sensae live. Holy shit. People mentioned Godheadsilo, which also happened when XYX
played. Bass and drums? Reasonably heavy? Pigeon holed! The singer/bassist was sort of
reminiscent of Linda Manz in Out of the Blue. The drummer’s style is transformative, and made me think of listening to Is This My World? It’s not sludge, it’s not no wave, it’s not AmRep, nor KRS, but just heavy interesting music played well with an incredible female vocalist.
layla at

another column! #322 was the issue that contained this~

We put this magazine together as the MRR house was being worked on—the mortar between the bricks is slowly seeping out, then the water heater broke. Cissie packed up her
things to move to Portland whilst training Mariam who just got here from Chicago. Diane’s band, Opt Out, with shitworkers Robert Collins, Dan Goetz and Trash recorded a demo. People leaving, things falling apart, bands recording, epic changes and endless disasters. We have been listening to Lullabies Make the Brain Grow, Feel the Darkness, Killed by Death #3 and Electrify Me on repeat, caffeinating our brains to full capacity and attempting to get shit done without letting the chaos that currently surrounds us overtake us…
It’s hard to understand or explain the amount of work that this job entails until you actually have to do it. I have been working on the magazine since ’03, but I had no idea how much work my friends who were coordinators did until suddenly I sat surrounded by green taped records, at 3am realizing our sales taxes were due tomorrow,
the layout I was working on just crashed, the roof above the coordinator desk is leaking and no one’s picked up mail for a week… Sometimes we sit from morning coffee until long after the rest of the world has gone to sleep, forgetting to eat, working on this thing. The stress of not knowing if we are going to make rent, all adding to the dreamy and endless interpersonal conflicts that arise in an all volunteer punk
live/work environment… Making this thing you hold in your hands is one of the most satisfying yet also the most difficult and most frustrating things I have ever
done. Getting to interview people that I respect, from Raymond Pettibon to Sharon Cheslow, figuring out who we should interview when we did the Film Issue, working with punks all over the world to make our culture what it is. All of this shit is transformative, but as insinuated above, it’s also absolutely exhausting. Cissie is
leaving San Francisco, and Maximum for Portland, and I will miss her tireless work ethic, her insanely extensive musical knowledge, her sense of humor and the hours of working together to put out the magazine every month. Her band, Vaccuum, with three shitworkers (yep you guessed it—Robert Collins plays in this one too, along with Vinnie Larussa and Daiki) played their last show, and made a demo last week. (It’s
reviewed in the demo section—send off for it punx!) The show was nearly all shitworker
bands, and watching Tim Brooks yell at little Phil from the audience, while his band Airfix Kits killed it on stage, while Bruce Roehrs actually stayed for all the bands that played, reminded me why I love doing this shit. A random collection of people who have incredibly different political views, musical tastes, ways of operating that can somehow work together for no reward other than making punk happen and, you know,
this magazine happen.
Tuberculosis / Rayos X / Poliskitzo / Des Madres El Crisis at Balazo. Tuberculosis’ first song, which I think you can watch on the LA Raw Ponx MySpace—the whole show is up
there—was one of the most incrdible inspiring things I have seen so far this year. As was Opt Out / Jump Off a Building / Duck and Cover at Thrillhouse. The punk community here can feel super alienating and disparate, but at these two shows I felt like something was happening, something worth participating in... Sort of a random column this month, written in chaos, panic and disorder.

Anyway as always I am here:layla at

Another one! WORDS

Usually it’s George Tabb who goes over the word count and squeezes the coordinator columns to their most minimal, this month it was Roehrs who unleashed an epic. What with Cock Sparrer live in SF, and the Agnostic Front reissues, the Roehrs universe was at its peak. I have been not been existing in a universe at its peak, just walking round town listening to tapes I made last time I had a walkman, in the early ’00s. King Crimson and PP Arnold, Quix*o*tic and Circus Lupus, Unwound and Jerry’s Kids. Wanna make me a tape? Brace claims he is going to. I am making one for Osa because she asked me about Wilma, San Francisco’s own lesbian separatist post-punk force who were on Subterranean. One of the women from Wilma gave a talk at the library here, for the queer part of the Penelope Houston curated punk series they’ve been having at libraries in town. Penelope is a librarian at the main branch here, and there was a rad exhibition of her Avengers ephemera, fliers and original record art, alongside an incredible photo exhibition by this woman Ruby Ray. The picture of the Zeros lying on the chalk body outline of a fresh murder scene in North Beach was my favorite. There’s going to be a Ruby Ray book, with contributions from Annex of Search and Destroy, who was involved with the early years of Maximum Rocknroll radio too. Annex’s daughter Zoe is a punk as well, continuing the family tradition, she says she is gonna interview Ruby for the mag, so that’s something to look forward to. I wanted to have it in the photo issue, but we thought it would be cooler to focus on more recent punk photographers. There are gonna be some other classic punk photographers interviewed in these pages in the upcoming months, including Edward Colver…
I like making tapes again, especially with the MRR library at my fingertips… Someone told me about this band Dress Up Like Natives, an all girl early ’80s Pittsburgh punk band that kind of remind me of a poppier Ama-Dots. (Another rad post-punk band from the same era from Milwaukee—a friend found their 7” about ten years ago in the 99c bin at Amoeba, I got one on Ebay as soon as I heard his copy). I dug out the MRR copy of the Dress Like Natives 7”, and started obsessing as to if there were other Pittsburgh girl bands at the same time. I wrote a few months back about a movie, Debt Begins at Twenty about the PGH art punk scene of this era, and guess what, you can watch it online now! It’s a black and white movie, with sort of a boy meets girl plot, but basically it’s just about punks hanging out and putting on a house show in early ’80s Pittsburgh. My favorite band in it was Hans Brinker and the Dykes, who sound like Noh Mercy, and thusly are incredible. I have detectives at work trying to figure out if they recorded anything beyond this movie. Someone told me that despite the fact that the Cardboards had a great name, their record was super dull (but worth a lot of money!). They’re sort of like an uncool Contortions with the touch of a more awkward Devo, if you can picture that collision of dorkiness. I guess the drummer, who is the star of the movie kept the band going after the rest of the original members quit and put out that record. Anyway, if you don’t like art punk you will not be enthralled, but I do and I was. More girl bands that sound like Noh Mercy!
layla at

A column from MRR 320 that is very random!

Alot of times when you have to make a difficult decision regarding the magazine, there’s an unmistakable voice in the back of your mind intoning, “Tim wouldn’t have done it that way,” or something to that effect. Certain things about the way that the magazine is run are set in stone, most of them for good reason. This isn’t Punk Rock Confidential, so even though we could use the revenue, you aren’t gonna see advertisements for Ramones baby-wear or Social D sneakers anytime soon... We always get into long conversations about whether or not something is punk—or, if it is punk, is it Maximum? Are the Young Marble Giants punk in a way that means they can exist in the same review section as Terveet Kädet? Really? There are reviews of SPK and Diamanda Galas records in early issues of MRR...
One thing that always struck me as a little strange was the fact that there was only one Fugazi record in the record collection. That band shaped how I view punk and DIY culture, and I see them as very much a part of the same idea of punk that MRR represents. It’s well known that a lot of the records missing from MRR’s record library were either rejected or purged because of Tim’s own preferences and prejudices—it was his own personal collection, after all... In recent years, in order to fill these holes, we have in one way or another replaced a lot of classic punk
records that he deemed unsuitable—in this issue we have a review of the Raincoats’
debut LP, just reissued on KRS, which was not kept in the collection (though their first 7” was). And Dischord kindly send copies of all the Fugazi records we are missing earlier this month. If you are interested in seeing a list of some of the records we are missing and want to acquire, you can email mrr at maximumrocknroll.
com. At some point we hope to have a database of the entire collection online,
when our computer wizards are finished with this mammoth task. If you are interested in
doing shitwork relating to that, feel free to email our web coordinator Paul here:
paul at is where
my old columns go to die on the internet.
Write me: layla at maximumrocknroll dot com

Monday, March 8, 2010

sorry I never post here dudes

but you can watch this amazing artifact of early 80s Pittburgh artpunker action here:

the part when hans brinker and the dykes play=next level